Haitian-American poet to begin North Country residency

PLYMOUTH — Writers, youth, families and community members are invited to participate in workshops, performances and conversations featuring poet Mckendy Fils-Aimé, a Manchester-based Haitian-American poet and educator who will be in northern New Hampshire January 11-18.

Mckendy will be offering a series of workshops, performances, open mics and community conversations as part of his week-long residency, presented by the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire. Participating communities include Bethlehem, Berlin, Bristol, Colebrook, Jackson, Lincoln, Plymouth and Tamworth.

In addition to performing and teaching workshops at schools throughout northern New Hampshire, Mckendy will offer community workshops for writers, middle and high school students, and families, as well as a workshop for educators presented in partnership with the National Writing Project in New Hampshire. Preregistration is requested for workshops; for details and to register, go to www.aannh.org. Some of the workshops will be followed by open mics.

In Plymouth, Mckendy will offer two public workshops and emcee an arts event. On Tuesday, January 13, Mckendy will present a teacher workshop — Introducing Poetry to Students through Slam Performance — in the Bradford Room, Centre Lodge, PSU, 8 Merrill St., Plymouth. Slam is one of today's most exciting ways to introduce poetry to students. This progressive performance-based art deals with a wide array of topics. In this 90-minute workshop participants will learn which resources are the most efficient for bringing slam poetry to students. Teachers will be provided with text, video and audio of several performance poems appropriate for school. This workshop is best for those who work with grades 4 & up. Networking and snacks run from 3:30-4 p.m. followed by the workshop from 4-5:30 p.m. $10 fee per person. Registration requested. Additional discounts for Arts Alliance members.

Mckendy will emcee an open mic and perform at the Arts Alliance's BYOP (Bring Your Own Painting, Performance, Presentation...) in Plymouth at the Karl Drerup Art Gallery on January 13, at 6:30 p.m.

The public is invited to attend a free discussion on "The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Poetry Sharing & Community Conversation on Race & Poverty" at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, January 18, at 5 p.m. Mckendy will introduce himself and share some of his poetry on themes of race and identity. He will then answer questions and participate in a community discussion facilitated by Dr. Meg Petersen of Plymouth State University.

Mckendy performs slam poetry, an exciting and energetic performance style of poetry that engages youth and adults alike. An instrumental organizer and co-host of the long-running and wildly popular Slam Free or Die in Manchester, Mckendy teaches poetry to students and adults in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and he has competed at poetry slams throughout the country. A seven-time veteran of the National Poetry Slam and a Pushcart nominee, he has been published in Freezeray, Word Riot, and Drunk in a Midnight Choir. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection, Prayer in the Cracks.

"Slam is one of today's most exciting ways to introduce poetry to students," Mckendy says. "This performance style makes poetry accessible for everyone. I'm looking forward to sharing my own story and working with local students and community members to explore new approaches to poetry and storytelling."

Register in advance for these events online or at the door as space allows; prices range from free admission (donations welcome) at the conversations to $10 for some of the workshops and performances. No one will be turned away if they can't afford the ticket price. Tickets and registration information for all residency programs is at www.aannh.org, or call (603) 323-7302 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions or for additional details. Additional events will be added at www.aannh.org — just click the banner for Mckendy's residency to learn more. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (603) 323-7302 for more information on any of the events mentioned.

CAPTION — Poet Mckendy Fils-Aimé will offer a series of workshops in Plymouth during his North Country residency. (Courtesy photo)

Dance Night with the Backyard Blues Band at Pitman’s on Friday

LACONIA — Pitman's Freight Room at 94 New Salem Street in downtown Laconia is pleased to announce that Dance Night with the Brickyard Blues Band will take place on Friday, January 9 at 8 pm.

Admission is $15 and Pitman's is a BYOB venue.

Since 1997, Brickyard Blues has been evolving its sound and building a following on stages in New England. The group has a mix influences, including Texas & Chicago Blues, Stax-era soul music, old-school R&B, with some roots & rockabilly thrown in. 2006 marked the release of the bands 9 original song CD "Naughty". In addition to getting airplay on radio stations throughout New England, their original song, Alabama Blues Man, was picked as the Favorite Blues Song at radio stations in Orlando Florida, and Warsaw, Indiana, and has even been featured on a radio station in Belgium that showcases American roots-rock music.
The group features Brian James on Guitar & vocals, Tom Hoctor on sax, Rachel Green on bass, and Reed Dieffenbach on drums.
Catered dinner buffet available before the show for $10. Call 527-0043 in advance for dinner reservations.

Speare offering free help for those signing up for health care

PLYMOUTH — The deadline to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace—or the "exchange" as it is commonly referred to—is February 15, 2015. Speare Memorial Hospital, in cooperation with the Foundation for Healthy Communities, is offering free, one-on-one enrollment assistance by appointment every:

· Mondays, January 12, 19, 26 and February 2, 9 from 1- 3 p.m.

· Thursday, January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 12 from 4 – 8 p.m.

To schedule an appointment with one of the Health Insurance Navigators at Speare, call (603) 238-6471.

The Health Insurance Marketplace offers health insurance to those who do not have coverage. The costs of plans are based on income, and cover preventative services, essential health needs and pre-existing conditions. New Hampshire Medicaid is also available at no cost to income qualified individuals and families.

Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators at Speare can help you select the plan that is best for you and your family, and assist you with the enrollment process. Those who do not have insurance coverage by the February 15, 2015 will be subject to penalties of two percent of your income or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child), whichever is higher. For more information about the federally mandate Health Insurance Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov.

"For many people in our community, this is the first time they have had access to health insurance," notes Speare's Financial Counselor Stacey Lembo. "It can be a bit overwhelming at first, so taking advantage of the one-one-one sessions with the Navigators is a great opportunity to understand what is offered, what you qualify for, and get enrolled before the deadline."

Speare Memorial Hospital—nationally ranked as Top 100 Critical Access Hospital and 2014 HealthStrong™ Hospital— is a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving Plymouth and the communities of central New Hampshire. Visit online at www.spearehospital.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Senior Moment-um playing Bingo on Monday

GILFORD — The Gilford Parks and Recreation Department will be sponsoring a Senior Moment-um program on Monday, January 12 at the Community Church, Fellowship Hall at noon for an afternoon of Bingo.

Coffee and tea will be provided; however, participants are asked to bring their own lunch. There will be small prizes awarded throughout the afternoon. Participants are asked to RSVP by Friday, January 9th. For more information or to RSVP  call the Parks and Recreation Office at 527-4722.